FAQ By Faculty on Disability Support

Q: What is the role of Disability Support Services at SPU?

A: Our role is to advocate and provide effective access to academic accommodation in classrooms, housing, and around campus.

Q: What are the responsibilities of the student with a disability?

A: A student must self-identify their needs to the DSS office and provide documentation of their disability from a licensed provider in order to receive accommodations. The records kept in the DSS office are strictly confidential and are not part of the student’s academic record.

Q: I’ve received a letter from DSS with regards to a student in my class … now what?

A: DSS prepares individualized letters to professors verifying the need for aides, services, and/or academic adjustments. Students are encouraged to meet with each professor early in the quarter to discuss the academic implications of their accommodations.

Q: What do I do if a student speaks to me directly to negotiate accommodations, but I don’t have a letter from DSS?

A: Please direct the student to speak with the DSS office.

Q: What are some examples of reasonable accommodations that SPU provides for students who have disabilities?

A: SPU provides accommodations on a case-by-case basis, based on submitted documentation. Examples of approved accommodations include: additional time for testing, textbooks in alternate formats, recording class lectures, or relocating classrooms for mobility reasons. This is not an exhaustive list.

Q: How much additional time on tests is reasonable?

A: Extended time on exams is a customary accommodation for students who need more time during tests for a variety of reasons due to a disability. DSS does not view untimed exams as a reasonable accommodation. Extended time is typically 50% longer than general class testing time.

Q: What if I disagree with the recommended accommodations?

A: Please contact the DSS Assistant Director at dss@spu.edu. Faculty members are encouraged to contact DSS to discuss any concerns or questions; however, they do not have the right to contest disability diagnoses or refuse approved accommodations.

Q: What if I believe a student with a disability may not be successful in my class?

A: Faculty members are encouraged to contact the DSS Assistant Director to discuss concerns. If the student has met the prerequisites for the class, it is illegal to suggest they drop the class based on his or her disability.

Q: I have strict attendance policies in my classes. Do I need to make exceptions for students with disabilities?

A: Students with disabilities are expected to adhere to the attendance policies of their classes. However, some disabilities may prevent the student from attending some classes due to hospitalization or outpatient treatment (such as chemotherapy or side effects of medication). The DSS Assistant Director can assist you in working out a reasonable accommodation with the student in these cases.

Q: Do I need to make any special statements in my syllabus?

A: Yes, please consider including a statement in your course syllabus explaining the disability support services that SPU can offer. Recommended statements:

Example 1:

In accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, SPU students with disabilities who qualify for academic accommodations should contact Disability Support Services in the Center for Learning in Lower Moyer Hall. (Call x2475 or email dss@spu.edu.) The Disability Support Services office will then send a letter to me indicating which accommodations have been approved for you.

Example 2:

Any student who feels they may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact Disability Support Services at x2475 or via email at dss@spu.edu, or stop by the office (Center For Learning) to confidentially discuss specific needs and coordinate reasonable accommodations for a documented disability.

You may also choose to include on your syllabus the following statement: "If you need this syllabus and/or class handouts in an alternative format, please speak with the instructor."

Four students walk down a covered sidewalk with their backs to the camera.

DSS mission statement

Disability Support Services recognizes disability as an important part of diversity on campus and integral to our community and our society. We aim to provide educational access through support, resources, advocacy, collaboration, and academic accommodations for SPU students with disabilities and to support an inclusive and equitable environment.

Who’s Who in the ASC

Here is where you’ll find a list of the Academic Support Center staff members, including their photos and contact information.